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Leadership

At Ridgeback, we come to work every day to serve patients who need champions.  Please read and learn about our leadership team – focused individuals dedicated to fighting disease and delivering solutions to our patients.

Wendy Holman

“My true addiction in life is learning and immersing myself in projects with great people and humanitarian missions.”

Wendy HolmanCEO

Wendy Holman is the CEO and co-founder of Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

Ms. Holman is passionate about global health and equality, education and advocating for diseases and patients who need champions. She is extraordinarily proud to lead the Ridgeback team for EBANGA™ which received FDA approval in 2020 for the treatment of Ebola. Ridgeback’s focus on emerging infectious disease led Ms. Holman and her team to invest behind and support development of antivirals for coronaviruses, as well as other new pathogens.

Prior to co-founding Ridgeback, Ms. Holman worked at US-based ZBI Equities, a multi-billion dollar public equity investment fund and its parent company, Ziff Brothers Investments. Between 1999 and 2014, she held various positions including healthcare sector head and director of research at ZBI Equities, and Principal at Ziff Brothers Investments. Ms. Holman’s investment focus was on novel and emerging technologies and platforms which could have a significant impact on human health.

Wendy serves on a variety of non-profit boards, including: the Sabin Vaccine Institute, the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), the Board of Advisors for the Univ. of Penn. Libraries and the Ransom Everglades School.

Interests: FAMILY and FRIENDS! Laughing with people I love, cooking, playing with my kids, dogs and awesome husband.

Wendy Painter, M.D., M.P.H.Chief Medical Officer

Wendy Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at Ridgeback, overseeing the development of molnupiravir. Having worked on molnupiravir since its discovery, Dr. Painter followed the molecule to Ridgeback. She is a physician executive who has held senior positions in health care and throughout the biopharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors and is a globally recognized expert in antiviral drug development. Prior to joining Ridgeback, Dr. Painter was a Consultant in Pharmaceutical Medicine in roles from nonclinical development through post-marketing life cycle management, CEO and CMO at QUE Oncology, CMO at Chimerix, Inc (developed Tembexa through Phase 2), and Medical Director at GlaxoSmithKline.  

She earned her B.S. and M.S. (Organic Chemistry) at Emory University, an M.D. at the University of Miami School of Medicine, and an M.P.H. at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; after completing an Occupational Medicine Fellowship at Duke University Medical Center she joined the faculty at Duke. Dr. Painter served for a decade on an Institutional Review Board.

Interests: Avid naturalist.  Outdoor explorer.  Find her at the beach or in the garden.

Lisa Cozza

“My passion is to create an operational experience that makes doing things right – easy”

Lisa CozzaChief Operating Officer

Lisa is the Chief Operating Officer for Ridgeback’s Ebanga Program.

Ms. Cozza brings 35 years of biopharmaceutical development, quality, operations, and client-focused business experience with innovator and contract manufacturing companies such as Genetics Institute, Lonza, Human Genome Sciences, and Astra Zeneca. Lisa has experience developing and manufacturing a wide range of products made from different modalities, including; mammalian, microbial, yeast, and insect cell lines, and most recently, with Gene Therapy at Catalent.

She is passionate about biologics operations and the deployment of effective business processes that enable the timely delivery of high-quality, exciting, and highly impactful products to patients in need.

Lisa believes in a patient-first approach that is best achieved by attracting and enabling great talent and suppliers.

Interests: Taking friends and family sailing in the Caribbean – life coaching – yoga – and being a foodie!

Sabue Mulangu

JC Sabue Mulangu, M.D., DTMH, Ph.D.Senior Vice President, Global Medical Affairs

Sabue is the SVP of Global Medical Affairs at Ridgeback. Dr Mulangu is responsible for the strategy, direction, and execution of the Company’s clinical development plans.

For almost 20 years, Sabue worked in several research projects in the filoviruses area. He has expertise in research related to Ebola and Marburg viruses including epidemiology, diagnostic, immuno-vaccinology and clinical trials. Sabue  spent a decade  of research and training in the intramural program of Vaccine Research Center, NIH. He is a co-inventor of the EBANGA (aka mab114), a human-derived monoclonal antibody for treatment of Ebola Virus Disease. Sabue led the first clinical administration of EBANGA to Ebola patients and contributed to the RCT on Ebola therapeutics during the second largest Ebola outbreak in 2018-2020 in DRC.  Sabue’s work with Ridgeback has contributed to the licensure of EBANGA as one of the only two approved Ebola treatments by the FDA. Sabue earned his MD and PhD from the University of Kinshasa and he has a Diploma in Tropical Medicine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Interests: Family, biking, soccer.

Merribeth Morin, Ph.D., MBASenior Vice President, Product Development

Merribeth is the SVP of Product Development at Ridgeback. Dr Morin serves as the Company’s Technical Program Lead directing all product development activities.

Merribeth has over 25 years of experience working with and for organizations developing human vaccines and biological products. Over nine of those years were spent working on global health concerns, most notably with PATH’s Malaria Vaccine Initiative. At PATH, Dr. Morin oversaw the development of several vaccines, vaccine platforms, and biologics in various stages of development from R&D to Phase 2 clinical trials.

As Ridgeback’s SVP of Product Development, Dr. Morin has continued the pursuit of delivering vital medicines to those who need them most. Merribeth was an integral member of the team that accelerated the development and licensure of EbangaTM. Dr. Morin earned her Ph.D. in Virology from Harvard University and her MBA from Northeastern University.

Interests: Ice hockey, recreational running (favorite race: Army Ten Miler), home improvement projects, travel.

Felicia LipanskyVice President, Program Management

Felicia is the VP of Program Management at Ridgeback. Ms. Lipansky provides leadership and oversight for the development of the Company’s COVID-19 program.

Felicia started her career in research at the Dana Farber in Boston and then UCSF, including HIA and the correlation between Human Herpes Virus 8 and Kaposi’s Sarcoma.

Moving into clinical research, Felicia jumped into the development of the meningococcal vaccine space with the approval of the Menjugate vaccine, has spent time in oncology, as the PM lead for US and EU approvals of Carfilzomib for the treatment of relapsed and refractory Multiple Myeloma. Continuing in the unmet medical need space, Felicia lead program management, and led the charge to achieve approval of Oxbryta® for the treatment of sickle cell disease 5 years from IND filing.

Interests: When not developing novel therapies, Felicia can be found on fields everywhere playing Ultimate Frisbee, is captain for the Mother Huckers and plays on various teams. Other hobbies include snowboarding, skiing, dog training, hiking with her pup, and anything outdoors.

Michael E. Jenkins, Ph.D.Senior Vice President, Manufacturing

Mike is the SVP, Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) leading the process development and manufacturing activities at Ridgeback.

After earning his doctorate and completing post-doctoral research at the University of Arizona, Tucson he joined CropTech Corporation working on producing anti-cancer therapeutics in tobacco plants. He transitioned to the CDMO industry holding a variety of business and operational roles, including serving as the General Manager at Catalent during the design and buildout of the Madison biologics manufacturing facility. He joined Ridgeback after consulting with BioProcess Technology Consultants (BPTC).

Interests: Amateur musician, hiking with his family, US history, and electric vehicles.

T.C. BaneSenior Vice President, Finance

TC is the SVP of Finance at Ridgeback. Mr. Bane is responsible for the overall financial management of the Company and maintenance of essential operating systems.

Prior to joining Ridgeback, TC worked at BDO USA, LLP in its Industry Speciality Services consulting practice. He has spent much of his career supporting organizations in the Life Science, Biopharma, Biodefense, and Aerospace & Defense industries. TC has vast experience providing consulting and financial services, including assisting businesses to understand and evaluate the effects of cost recovery and the financial impact on their business, supporting compliance with all applicable legal and regulatory matters, and overseeing business practices to identify process augmentations that allow companies to improve efficiency.

Interests: Avid golfer, sports fanatic, lover of Italian food and good wine.

Laura J. SzewczykDirector, Clinical Operations

Laura is the Director of Clinical Operations at Ridgeback. She leads Ridgeback’s Clinical Operations group providing leadership and direction for the Company’s clinical trials.

Laura started her Biotech career at Genentech after returning from a two-year tour in Kyrgyzstan with the Peace Corps. From there she went on to work on the development and approval of Kyprolis at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, where she realized it was best suited for dynamic, small company environments. After working at a series of startups (Stemcentrx, Amphivena Therapeutics, and Catalyst Biosciences) she was offered the opportunity of a lifetime to join Ridgeback’s efforts in developing a COVID-19 oral therapy amidst an emerging pandemic; she couldn’t help but run towards the fire. She and the incredible team at Ridgeback have been initiating novel methods of accelerated study startup, execution, and finalization, alongside the industry’s most dedicated researchers and vendor partners.

Interests: Laura is a certified yoga instructor in San Francisco and enjoys travel, backpacking, hiking, dance, art, music, dogs, food, and coffee.